The sound of rain was never so welcome, as two days ago, a day after my return to the Bay Area, where even in the airport terminal, waiting in line to go through Customs and Immigration, the smell of smoke was everywhere, and people were staying inside with towels at the base of their doors and windows (unless they had modern ones, closed to drafts). But rain was expected, and materialised right on schedule, plopping softly on the bathroom skylight, hissing under tires, gleaming on the parking pad. We threw open the doors, and watched the sky line clarify until we could again see the hills in the distance, the ones we bike up (all the way for my husband, half way for me).

When I was growing up in Vancouver I really didn’t like rain at all, because it turned my hair into a ball of frizz. But here, in this dry climate, it is welcome—for a while, even if it keeps me off my bike for the ride to town or the campus. Of course, the grey skies (and short daylight hours, at this time of year) are dispiriting if they go on, and on. But after long days of good dry weather I love the sound of the first drops hitting the roof, especially at night.